The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 60 years on

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Article
1 October 2008

Barloworld - helping to shape human rights history in South Africa

Author: Article 13

In 1978, Barloworld finalised “The Barloworld Rand Group Code of Employment Practice”, a human rights-based code providing equal rights for workers...In essence, the Code embedded the right to non-discrimination and demonstrated that companies could draft and implement policies supportive of human rights even in the face of oppressive laws and attitudes...Implementation meant that racism was prohibited and employees who did not comply were disciplined or fired. At the Barloworld subsidiary, Middelburg Steel and Alloy (MS&A), changes included the provision of homes for black employees, use of the same toilets and facilities for all employees, which was against the law at the time, improved skills and adult literacy as well as greater opportunity for black employees...Today, Barloworld is still actively involved in education, job creation and community infrastructure as part of its broader focus but it has also expanded this focus to include some of the new challenges facing South Africa...

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Article
1 October 2008

BASF - using their technical know-how to improve Kenyan diets

Author: Article 13

...[T]wo employees from the nutrition division were keen to establish a project focused on alleviating micronutrient deficiency. Often referred to as the ‘hidden hunger’ micronutrient deficiency is a particular form of malnutrition where individuals do not receive the essential recommended intake of vitamins and minerals...More than two billion people worldwide are affected by the deficiency...BASF partnered with the Swiss foundation the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) who brought expertise in nutrition programmes and in bringing together public and private partners...The Kenyan project was launched in 2002 and focused on making a fortified edible oil nationally available...It is estimated that more than one million undernourished people are currently being reached by the programme.

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Article
1 October 2008

Ketchum - the role of communication in preventing the abuse of human rights

Author: Article 13

In 2003, Ketchum worked with US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a public awareness campaign on human trafficking...“Rescue and Restore Victims of Human Trafficking”, designed to humanise and localise the issue through the use of real stories...The vulnerable nature of many of these people meant that additional care and new guidelines needed to be developed to ensure that the publicity did not impede their recovery process and in some cases put them in any danger...The training programme is now considered the new minimum standard for ethical behaviour for the industry...

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Article
1 October 2008

Novartis - dealing with complexities of implementing a living wage

Author: Article 13

Novartis undertook to implement a living wage across it business...Novartis began to work with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) to guide its living wage programme...By 2006 the pay of all employees had been aligned with living wage levels. Work has continued to improve the methodology to allow for periodic adjustment to account for inflation and other factors...Furthermore, Novartis is prepared to discuss and share its methodology and results to help other companies implement a living wage and help provide international benchmarking.

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Article
1 October 2008

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 60 years on

Author: Article 13

Employee rights and supply chain issues are usually included when human rights are discussed in sustainability reports. Whilst these issues are most obviously relevant, they are far from exhaustive. In its 60th year we take a look at the UDHR and organisations' role in protecting the human rights it upholds. [In particular looking at]… [t]he reality and a framework for improvement …the corporate responsibility to respect human rights…[m]ore effective access to remedies…[and calling for] [b]usiness…to become more active in its management of human rights issues in line with its overall governance programmes…[includes link to case studies on BASF, Barloworld, Novartis, Ketchum, Titan Industries]

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Article
1 October 2008

Titan Industries - developing local industry in support of business and philanthropic aims

Author: Article 13

In 1995, Titan began working with local NGO Myrada. Myrada assisted in identifying ways in which the women’s skills and needs could be better matched to the core business of the company...Titan provided training and worked with Myrada to source the necessary equipment...Following early successes the initiative was converted into a privately held company run and owned by the women themselves, supported by further technical training and expertise from Titan. The company was called MEADOW (Management of Enterprise and Development of Women)...The company is now owned by more than 200 women...

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